chicken gyro salad

Last week, because we are edgy, rebellious and pretty much the dictionary definition of renegades, we broke the law. We decided we’d had enough of having an outdoor space and no fire-breathing apparatus to exercise our American-given right to burn food on in the summer months and brought home the tiniest, safest and most docile grill ever manufactured, basically the fluffy kitten of the barbecue landscape. As I figure we’re going to be asked to remove it any moment now, all of my previous summer goals have be redirected to the following: enjoying every second of it while it lasts. We are going to grill everything. I am halfway to fulfilling my fantasy of setting all my food on fire.

prepping the chicken

We started with chicken, however, because in real life I am not exactly Francis Mallmann (I’m sorry to disappoint). We had a small crowd for dinner last Thursday (in advance of this guy’s guitar recital) and because we are officially at a point when I find cooking anything extra, no matter how wiped out I am, still more appealing than finding a restaurant that can accommodate 6 grown-ups, a 6-year old and a 10.5 month old fireball. I bet the restaurants thank us, too.

removing the seeds from the "seedless" cucumbers

But if this is any indication of how simple summer cooking can be with a grill, I regret nothing. This assemble-your-own dinner setup, which was inspired by one I saw in Goop a few years ago, is exactly as laid back as big dinners should always be. First, you make a simple marinade for the chicken and let it sit in there for as long as you have — 20 minutes? 24 hours? It’s all good, as Gwyneth would say. Then you make an amount of tzatziki that will seem excessive, but it will disappear first. You chop a bunch of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions and then you grill all of your chicken (even on my tiny grill in two batches, this took about 22 minutes), add some pitas at the end and that’s it. You just fed 8 people and you barely broke a sweat. Plus, you pulled off the unthinkable — a light summer dinner that allows everyone to eat or not eat what they don’t want (onions, if you’re my kid; bread, if you’re most people right now) and leave you out of it so you can instead clink ice in your rosé glass and enjoy the charred scent of summer wafting off the table.

grating the cucumber
wringing out the cucumber
ready to mix
vegetables: all ready
newest arrival
grilled thighs
thinly slice chicken
chicken gyro salad

So…: What your favorite thing you’ve ever grilled? I have some catching up to do.

One year ago: Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
Two years ago: Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas
Three years ago: Lobster and Potato Salad
Four years ago: Rhubarb Snacking Cake
Five years ago: Spring Salad with New Potatoes
Six years ago: Scrambled Egg Toast and Strawberry Brown Butter Bettys
Seven years ago: Raspberry Buttermilk Cake and Slaw Tartare
Eight years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Haricot Vert with Shallots
Nine years ago: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Potato Kugel
1.5 Years Ago: Cranberry Pie with Thick Pecan Crumble
2.5 Years Ago: Parsley Leaf Potatoes
3.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
4.5 Years Ago: Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies

Chicken Gyro Salad

  • Servings: 6 (generously) and 8 (our crowd, no leftovers)
  • Print

Source: Inspired by Goop; tzatziki is tweaked a bit from Ina Garten

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a grill. Despite all of my excited talk about it, we’ve made this dinner many times in a grill pan on the stove and/or roasted in the oven.
  • Short of making your own pitas, if you have any luck finding Kontos brand pocketless pitas, they’re my favorite for meals like this — thick, keep well without getting stale, freeze well for later and toast up beautifully. (Not sponsored!)
  • Did you know that gyros means rotate or turn? The classic gyro sandwich is named after the vertical rotisserie usually used to cook lamb, beef or other meats. Needless to say, we’re adapting the idea a tad loosely here.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • Tzatziki dressing
  • 2 cups (554 grams) plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, unpeeled (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Assembly
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • About 1 pound small-medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 hothouse, English or seedless cucumber, chopped
  • 4 large pitas (intending 1/2 per person) or more as needed

Prepare the chicken: Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag. Rub all around, coating chicken as evenly as possible. Let marinate for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours, whatever time you have.

Make tzatziki: Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Quarter your cucumber lengthwise and cut out the seeded area. Coarsely grate your cucumber onto a clean dishcloth and wring it out as well as you can. All of that liquid makes for a soggy sauce. Add wrung-out cucumber to yogurt bowl along with lemon, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill until needed.

Prepare salad components: Arrange lettuce, onion, tomatoes and cucumbers on a platter. If desired, toss onion with a squeeze of lemon and/or dash or two of vinegar and salt so that it mellows/lightly pickles while it rests.

Cook chicken: Heat your grill to high heat or a grill pan to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill on first side until dark lines appear, about 5 minutes, then flip and grill for 3 minutes more on second side. Cooking times will vastly range by the thickness and coldness of your chicken, as well as variations between grills. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board, let rest for a couple minutes while you quickly heat/toast your pitas on the grill.

Cut chicken into thin strips. Cut pitas into wedges. Add to platter with vegetables and let everyone dig in. Repeat all summer.

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301 comments on chicken gyro salad

  1. EbbaCooks

    favorite thing grilled? Easily a block of feta drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary and pepper and grilled in a foil pouch.

    1. Sandra

      This was incredible! I made this along with the chicken gyro salad and it was a perfect accompaniment. I don’t understand how it works, but it really does pick up a smoky flavor in a short time. A real game-changer. Thanks for this!

  2. Monica

    I love chicken thighs, but hate cleaning/defatting them before marinating–you don’t mention it as a step, but is it just on of those unwritten rules when using this cut?

    1. deb

      Monica — Good question! My husband always does; I only sometimes bother. I mean, it’s just a little fat? In this case, my husband did the prepping so the extra fat was removed. A couple days later I made it again and didn’t trim and nobody noticed or complained.

  3. Sarah

    Salmon on a cedar plank is my go-to with some roasted potatoes and asparagus. Luckily, I’m in the PNW and my dad fishes in AK every summer so I’m easily stocked all year round. I marinate the salmon in some soy/garlic/ginger mix in a bag for 30 minutes then put it on the soaked cedar planks. Super delicious!

  4. Jean

    The local Mediterranean place does a greek salad with shwarma on top, I think this could be my attempt to recreate at home. However I don’t have hot smoked paprika (I have regular and smoked). If I buy hot (can’t find hot smoked locally) what do you imagine the sub ratios might be? split the regular paprika into regular and smoked and sub the smoked hot for just hot?

    1. deb

      Jean — Chipotle powder or cayenne are the closest cousins, adjusting to heat preference. (I would have used more if I didn’t have a 6 year-old.)

      1. JP

        Uh oh. My chicken is marinating in the fridge as I write this and I just realized I missed the “hot” part. I used regular and smokes. We shall see how it turns out!

  5. Kathryn

    Faves from the BBQ? Omg, where to start?? Any kind of veg from the garden with a herby marinade (slices of potato, pepper, aubergine, pumpkin, courgette…), stuffed boletus mushrooms (or other wild mushrooms- there are a lot of kinds around here), pizza, kofte, satay, clafoutis….nom nom nom!

  6. Colleen

    Individual pizzas made directly on the grill are a thing of joy and wonder, and I’ve tried most of your pizza recipes that way.

  7. Amie

    Lemon juice is mentioned twice in the list for the chicken – zest and juice of one lemon, and then again ‘juice of 1/2 lemon’. Is this an error? Thanks!

  8. Also, also (sorry for the three comments in a row, but between grilling and your vegetable gardening, you’ve recently hit on my two favorite summer food things and I have no restraint), more favorite grilling recipes…Everything. I basically don’t cook on the stovetop in summer anymore except to make scrambled eggs or anything that involves boiling water (pasta, rice). And I live in an apartment/condo with a porch probably smaller than yours.

    My hands-down favorite recipe for the grill is smoked salmon, though I don’t know how well it would work on a grill that small (you can do it on a gas grill, though). I already mentioned your feta salad/dip thing. A grilled steak Thai salad (flat iron steak is my favorite cut to grill for salad, tacos, just about anything). Burgers (veggie, turkey, beef). Vegetables for pasta salad.

  9. Sarah

    This will be part of our dinner rotation, pronto! I’ve got two favs to grill: grilled romaine salad (cut in half, rub lightly with a high temp oil, char for a couple minutes, dress with a sprinkle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, top with a bit of fresh herbs and a nutty cheese — soooo good!) and the other is 5 spice chicken drumsticks with cucumber, daikon and carrot salad.

    1. Jacqueline

      I know this was a year ago, but YES YES YES to the grilled romaine hearts, soooo good. We almost always buy some to throw on whenever we’re grilling because they’re so good and easy it seems a shame to warm up the grill and not get any!

  10. Well this just makes me sad that we’re currently grill-less! Might need to move that up the priority list. And +1 to “who cares” about the chicken fat. Heck, I buy chicken thighs for the fat; I’m working on a recipe right now that relies on a good amount of incidental schmaltz*, and I was annoyed when the package I brought home turned out to be mislabeled chicken tenders; not my thing.

    *totally using this as a band name some time in the future.

  11. Carolyn S

    Okay, clearly my family is not foodie enough, but last night’s hamburgers over the grill are the ONLY way to make them taste awesome for a traditional grilling party with lots of teenagers and kids. Turkey burgers, asparagus, broccoli, corn on the cob, tri-tip (super good marinated,) chicken breasts and on special occasions great steaks are also summer staples. I have big boys with big appetites, we live in the suburbs, and I train them in high school how to work the grill so we can eat when their father gets home.

  12. Liz

    Now I know what I’m making when the neighbors come for dinner on Saturday, and I have to pull off dinner for 6 adults/5 kids despite having 2 soccer games to attend that day! Thank you!

  13. The best thing I ever grilled was Thai chicken satay. I had a dinner party and invited some friends, but they were already booked. The husband asked, kind of as an aside, what I was making. Thai chicken satay. A while later, he got back to me to say that as a matter of fact he and his wife were in fact free.
    Chicken, pork and even smaller pieces of beef can benefit from a marinade when going on the grill.
    We also make pizza on the grill, but I’m not sure the kitten grill is up to that.

  14. Gayle

    Gyros with all the trimmings — looks delish! It may show up at our Father’s day party this year.

    Grilling – way too many things to list, but the big hit last night (and every night we do it) is grilled fresh pineapple rings, topped with vanilla ice cream and your salted caramel sauce.

  15. Gabby

    Favorite thing to grill: sliced pastrami! It gets so delicious and melt in your mouth soft and crispy on the edges. I LOVE to add it to a grilled rare burger with a dollop of guacamole. That + beer = summer heaven.

  16. Randi

    I have to agree with the grilled pizza fans! SO GOOD! And the best when you don’t want to heat your house by blasting the oven at 500 for an hour! Also any vegetable. Zucchini, peppers and onions are eaten by the bowlful in the house and asparagus too!

  17. Two grilled favorites: A much-tweaked version of Adam Rapoport’s Cobb Salad but add thin slices of a dry-rubbed grilled flank/flat iron, more herbs (parsley, chives, cilantro), grilled asparagus and peppers, and I prefer rice to quinoa, and sometimes chopped romaine and radish…so clearly not his recipe, but it’s what inspired it — + this ancient but beloved Gourmet recipe, which is really just garlic/lemon dressing for grilled chicken:

  18. I’ve been grilling all the things as soon as it got warm! This will be my first full summer with regular access to a grill and I love the grilled protein + simple vegetable dinner template. I’m kinda obsessed with a Vietnamese-ish grilled cabbage salad with grilled chicken or skirt steak (though honestly I’d be happy with just the salad).

    1. maureen vercruysse

      just found your review and thought i would offer a newly found suggestion. i also enjoyed the grilled, caramelized pound cake with vanilla bean ice cream. this year i added a drizzle if a delicious raspberry balsamic vinegar after visiting one of those olive oil stores. it was so delicious! the vinegar is nearly a syrup on the whole mix and imparts a lovely zing to break up the layers of sweet.

  19. Terri

    Pizza is fantastic grilled, so is pineapple which can be put into salads – or with pound cake also grilled. Satays always a winner.

  20. Janelle

    This.looks.amazing!!! Must try this week, since Virginia weather has decided to go from the 50’s and 60’s to the 80’s and 90’s in two days flat. :/

    Interesting thing to grill — pizza! Put the crust on and grill for a few minutes, then flip and add sauce/toppings and grill until the cheese melts (assuming you use a melty cheese). It winds up oddly-shaped with delicious little crispy burned spots and is a whole new pizza world.

    Also — you must try summer peaches on the grill (if it’s around that long). They caramelize wonderfully and almost don’t need anything else … but adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce and some toasted almond slivers or pecans … well, as long as you’re breaking the laws of decadence, you might as well! :D

  21. Kristy

    Thanks for a great summer recipe – and perfect for entertaining. My husband and I have had that same grill for the last 12 years and love it! Hope you enjoy yours.

  22. Leah

    Pedant alert: Technically, as you alluded to in your note, this is a more of a souvlaki salad, since the meat is closer to what you’d grill on a skewer than the rotating (gyrating) technique. And our Greek family is right there with you on the no-sponsorship Kontos pita — they are superb!

  23. Emily

    Congrats on the new grill! I hope you get to keep it forever.

    The recipe looks fantastic and I hope to try it soon. I’m also glad I noticed the food processor in the photos. No bloody knuckles grating cucumbers for me!

  24. Tracy

    Love this idea but quick question – for the marinade, its juice of 1.5 lemons plus the zest? Wasn’t sure why lemon juice was listed twice in different amounts under “chicken”. (I’m probably missing something) Thanks!

  25. Jeanne

    What vegetarian protein grills well? Asking for my fiancé. I myself adore grilled chicken. And miss it. Le sigh!

  26. S

    Pretty much any vegetable straight out of the garden/farmer’s market, tossed with olive oil, and thrown into a grill “wok” (meaning no skewering or dropping through to the fire) is a standard side or main around here. Fajitas are easy/awesome, and grilled eggplant parmesan (check epicurious) is a fun one too.

  27. joelfinkle

    I’d suggest adding ground coriander (a tsp or even two) and maybe a half-tsp of allspice to get that gyros-y flavor in the chicken.
    Note: in Athens, (GR, not GA) gyros is almost always pork or chicken: If it’s beef or lamb they call it doner.

  28. Hannah

    YUM! Chicken thighs are my favorite chicken (and also my favorite thighs, heh). So much flavor ’cause dark meat, and typically a great bang for your buck. I also agree about assemble-your-own style serving for a group. Hooray for summer grilling!

    1. Ellen

      Unfortunately my grill is currently out of commission. You mentioned having baked the chicken, what are your instructions for this?

  29. Mary Beth

    The current issue of Food and Wine has a Charred Guacamole that I made this weekend. You grill everything–avocados, limes, tomatoes, red-onions, Serrano peppers, THEN make the guac. I really liked the smokiness and it was very simple to make. I also like a grilled flank steak with classic chimichurri, can’t go wrong with that!

  30. deb

    Lemon listed twice — That was a typo, now fixed. You’ll just need the zest and juice of 1 lemon for the marinade.

    Your suggestions — Thank you! Although now I will be even more sad if our time with the grill is short.

    Grilled pizza — THIS IS SO ON. (I’m surprised I never covered it here because it’s my favorite. We often just make a lot of dough and then let people choose toppings… but previously, only at other people’s places. Here’s a favorite.)

    Snapchat — If you’re on Snapchat, I just did a brief tour of my garden so far @smittenkitchen. It’s basically that time of year I find it impossible to focus in the kitchen because I just want to obsess over strawberry buds and assess what grew most overnight. Can you blame me? :)

  31. jacquie

    I’ve read the comments several times and can’t find the brand of grill you
    ended up with. We’re also looking for a smaller grill, can someone tell
    me the name of the grill. Thanks

  32. ruth

    We love grilled veggies! Get a cheapie grill basket at Home Depot or the like, coat veggies with olive oil/salt/pepper, and grill away. Easy on and off and seriously smokey and yummy. We also love grilled corn. Remove silks but keep the husks. Coat with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper (and anything else) and cook for about 15 minutes, rotating once in a while.

  33. deb

    jacquie — This is the grill. Best part: the grill plates are in two parts so it’s very easy to just bring them in, soak them a little and run them through the dishwasher. Sparkling clean grill plates, little scrubbing. (I also bought more disposable drip pans because Amazon told me to.)

    ruth — We love doing corn with the husks on but we don’t bother taking the silks out. Once the husks are quite black, the silks will fall away when peeled. Hope this spares you some work this summer. :)

  34. Jamie

    I do not often get the jump on you, but I’m super proud of myself right now! We make something like this all the time :) although I can never resist making up a batch of your feta salsa to go with it.

  35. Lindsay

    I never thought to make a salad out of a gyro – so simple and delicious!

    Favorite things to grill: individual pizzas (we use your pizza dough or store-bought naan in a pinch); grilled veggie tostadas (zuc, bell peppers, eggplant, portabellos, onions, and grill the tortilla, too!); cedar plank salmon (rubbed with ancho chile, brown sugar, cumin, and salt, then drizzled with honey after grilling YUM); flank steaks; and of course burgers.

  36. Emily

    Throw thin sliced chicken breast cutlets, half a cup of pesto, a few tablespoons of mild vinegar in a zip bag. Marinate however long you like. Grill and gobble. They take maybe a minute or two per side to cook, and are so summery & delicious! Great with salads, grilled veggies, couscous, or my personal favorite: on a crusty toasted sandwich roll with mayo.

  37. Sherry in Chicago

    Grilled fresh pineapple w/Malibu rum whipped cream is a favorite grilled dessert at our house. Just cut the tops & sides off the pineapple, slice and grill until it starts to caramelize, the core will get soft enough to eat or you can cut around it.

  38. Linda

    GRILLED QUAIL EGGS. Also grilled chicken skin, and grilled corn on the cob (because who doesn’t?!).
    Also grilled fish with lots of cumin and red pepper (and sometimes shallow-simmered in a vat of vegetables and pickled vegetables.)

    With the arrival of summer (and the end of term), are you finishing your cookbook? Looking foward to convincing you to do that post a day ^_________^ (and cooking, and snarfing it, of course!)

  39. Heidi

    A Weber Q! We’ve had ours for 12 years and are still in love with it. I’m so happy a real food writer won’t be getting all indirect-heat-snobbish on me.

  40. Since we bought a smoker a couple of years ago it has completely replaced the grill…even though it needs babysitting we are fools for that smoky flavor. I might be tempted to pull the grill out for this, though.

  41. Cheryl

    Deb, I make this exact same dinner over and over and over in summer. In fact, I even do a winter version (bone-in chicken thighs cooked with lemon and garlic in the oven – still served with massive dollops of tzatziki). We have the same BBQ (grill) as you – did you know you can roast in it? Best roast chicken EVER! It’s the first day of Winter here in Australia, sigh. Brrrrr.

  42. Stephanie

    Very good. Now, if you are very clever, you won’t have to cook all Summer. It is some throw back caveman thing, that men like to put meat on fire. I make a salad, dinner is served.

  43. @jacquie It’s a Weber! We have the same one for camping and love it. A word of warning though, because the grill is cast iron we have found that it destroys BBQ brushes quickly, which has resulted in some nasty metal bristle bits in our food.

  44. alexa

    clams in an aluminum foil pouch – pour a beer on top, 2 pats of butter, fresh herbs from my roof garden (whatever i have, usually parsley and thyme to cook on the grill and then topped with fresh basil once off the grill), lemon. add paper plates and there is literally zero clean up. i have done everything — steak, chicken, pork, pork belly, bacon, burgers — and this is the simplest and most delicious. also once almost started a roof fire from grilling pre-braised pork belly, so won’t be trying that again!

  45. joy

    Sam Sifton had an AMAZING recipe for oven chicken shawarma in the NYT magazine a couple of years ago. I usually serve it with cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, etc, occasionally tzatziki if I’m feeling ambitious. It also calls for chicken thighs, and the fat ends up being rendered out while baking, so the meat isn’t fatty, but it’s also lovely and juicy, not dry like chicken breasts often are.

  46. Cara

    Our favorites on the grill are outside skirt steak, asparagus tossed in oil and salt, and pineapple (sliced and brushed with oil). Can I issue a challenge? Cabbage. I have never followed a grilled cabbage recipe that turned out even half way decent, and we love cabbage. I know its getting late for cabbage, but I’d sure love to have a good grilled cabbage recipe.

  47. Vanessa

    I just made this and it’s so delicious! I don’t have a grill so I roasted the chicken in the oven, still turned out fine. Grilling would be even better, because everything is better grilled. I love throwing ramps on the grill for a minute and eating them on anything, esp. with salmon. Thanks!

  48. Stephanie

    We do vegetarian grill extravaganzas all summer, with not a veggie-burger in sight. The show-stopper is, of course, Haloumi. But we also grill asparagus (salt & olive oil), summer squashes (lemon juice, olive oil, fresh dill, salt), frying peppers stuffed with habanero cheddar, tofu/eggplant/portobellas (soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ginger and garlic), corn (like you do–throw it on, silk and all), and more. Showstopper # 2 is eggs cooked inside of potatoes…

  49. Elliot

    I’m really looking forward to making this tomorrow night! I’ve made the tzatziki ahead, and the thighs are marinating.

    It won’t stop raining down here in Texas, so I may do it with the broiler instead of with my kettle grill. Does broiling for 15 minutes on a wire rack with a pan underneath, flipping halfway through seem like the right plan?

  50. Perfect timing! I already have a few of these ingredients in my fridge and was in the mood fro tzatziki. Will be cooking this delicious meal this week! Thanks :)

  51. Rachel

    Grilled pineapple and grilled lamb chops are my favorites. This looks awesome! Grilled strawberries to tuck into s’mores are something I’d really love to try.

  52. Charlene

    “Did you that gyros meats rotate or turn? Thus, the classic gyro sandwich is named after the vertical rotisserie usually used to cook lamb…”

    I, too, can’t type fast enough to keep up with my brain. Missing “know” two words in above, and did you mean “means” instead of “meats”?

  53. Made this for dinner and it was PERFECT for a 100+ degree day. We served it with a bit of leftover feta and fresh mint and cilantro because I had them lying around but otherwise used this exact recipe and it was great. Tons of dressing but we are it right up. Except mr picky five year old who just had the fresh pita with hummus.

  54. Heather

    Pineapple! Amazing on burgers and salads. Or dusted with sugar and cinnamon for dessert. Had it once at a Brazilian steakhouse and was hooked for life.

  55. Maggie

    I’ll second (millionth?) the pineapple. If you branch out into smoking things on the grill, smoked meatloaf is a staple for us in the summer, as well as corn (husks and silks removed prior to grilling). I’ve also got a potato salad in my repertoire in which all vegetable components (including sliced, parboiled potatoes) are grilled and then tossed with a bacon vinaigrette. I’m thinking of trying a summer vegetable galette on the grill, maybe on a sheet of foil until the bottom sets – still gotta work that one out. Smoked tomatoes are delightful on pizzas, pastas, eggs, your fingers . . .

    As much as I hate southern summers, grill season goes a long way toward making up for it! I’m in favor of any cooking method that keeps the heat outdoors.

  56. Ali

    What would you do for dressing if you had to forego the yogurt? I had to give up dairy a few years ago, and dairy free yogurt *shudder* is not my favourite…

  57. Debra

    Started summer with an adorable charcoal grill at ikea,
    and celebrated with lamb Kefta kebabs. Pulse onion, cilantro and parsley, mix with ground lamb, bread soaked in water and squeezed out, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne salt and pepper. Yogurt sauce with garlic and mint. Fabulous. Offer Joseph’s low-carb pitas (the best I’ve found).

  58. I made this for dinner, and WOW! It was amazing! It’s easy, and delicious. This is going in the book of staples for lunches and dinners in our house

  59. Ingrid E

    We lived in London for nearly three years, in a tiny apartment. Being Australian, I love barbecues, so for at least the six months after we returned to Sydney I put something on the barbecue every night! At the moment I’m really into barbequing vegetables. Red cabbage for a charred coleslaw. Broccolini for a salad. Corn. Asparagus. Fennel and raddicchio for salad. Eggplant, zucchini and red capscicum. Amazing!

  60. Carol M

    Favorite thing to grill? Lamb!! Especially boned and butterflied leg, marinated in garlic, olive oil, rosemary and red wine, then cooked on the grill like a steak! MMM! Rosy pink perfection!

  61. Mariana

    Dear Deb, this meal is amazing!! As a Greek, I would recommend that instead of grating the cucumber for the tzatziki, you could just remove the seeds and simply chop it in chunks. It is really common here in Greece that way, but of course it is just a matter of taste!!

  62. Bonnie

    Where are your childrens photos hidden? People are always commenting on how beautiful they are, but I have never been able to see these photos in any of your posts. Enjoy your recipes and commentary and have made many of them over the years.

  63. Susanne

    Hi Bonnie,

    Hate to think you’re missing out on the photos!

    Deb imbeds links in her text, usually (if we’re lucky) one per post. When you see something like this, “… than finding a restaurant that can accommodate 6 grown-ups, a 6-year old and a 10.5 month old fireball. I bet …”

    you’ll see there’s a link on the 10.5 month fireball. Click it and there you’ll see a photo. They’re always worth a click :)

  64. minik

    Yay for summer grilling! This idea solves so many problems at once, my kinda thing! I think we have to invite people over asap. Your kids are too cute for any words. Jacob is playing guitar? That’s so nice! Are any of you (the parents) musical instrument players? So many questions, hehe.
    My number one for grilling is eggplants. The really fat and thick ones… Like you would on the stove, untill they are blackened. Start slow (if using charcoal you wait untill the meat grilling is over and throw them directly on the hot coals, but I noticed yours is not so you can throw them right on the grill) and be careful, turn them around once in awhile. Then use them in baba ganoush, cold – or mix them with bechamel for a wholly different sauce and serve with meat, hot. Oops, I’m getting hungry!

  65. Michelle

    Mussels on the barbie are my absolute favourite. In summer (which it most definitely is not right now here in Perth Australia) we grill mussels over the bbq flame until they open and then toss them through a dressing of lots (and lots) of freshly chopped garlic and parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. You need to be careful not to spill the juice in the mussels as you lift them into the bowl, because it mixes in with the dressing and you have a lovely salty, lemony, garlicky sauce to mop up with crusty bread. Absolutely finger licking good!

  66. Rachel

    Grill slices of bread, brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then rub the toasts with the cut side of half a garlic clove. Heaven. Even better piled with fresh tomatoes (or anything else).

  67. Pam

    Yum – will be making this for sure over the summer. Since I already make greek salads all the time. Our favorite things to grill are asparagus, eggplant, zucchini and mini bell peppers. Just toss with olive oil and kosher salt. We also make our own flat bread. Either make our own pizza dough or buy premade bread or pizza dough – small balls rolled out to mini flat bread, brush lightly with olive oil and top with garlic salt and grill. yum!

  68. Sara

    OMGOSH your daughter is beyond perfect! *heart eyes emoji*

    I love classic grilled vegetables – zucchini, summer squash, red onion, and red pepper thin sliced and tossed with olive oil, salt, and maybe some balsamic vinegar.

    I also love marinated flatiron steak – 1 part balsamic, 1 part worcestershire, add 1-2 tsp salt, swish, then 2 parts oil and some herbs (usually rosemary for us.) I try to marinade overnight. And they aren’t grilled, but in the summer I LOOOOOOOVE these with my grilled steak:

  69. Taina

    This looks amazing! Easy to prepare; involves the use of a grill/flame; light and refreshing…a perfect summer meal. One of the best things I’ve ever grilled was sweet peppers. You know those bags of mini tri-colored peppers? Wash them then throw the peppers whole onto the grill and cook until slightly blackened on all sides, to taste. Don’t bother cutting or kabob-ing or seasoning. They’ll come off tasting like charred fire-candy. Pick them up by their little stems once they’ve slightly cooled and gnaw like corn on the cob.

  70. Tanya

    OMG, this was perfect for tonight’s dinner. My husband is still commenting about how great everything tasted together…absolutely delicious! I was unable to get boneless thighs so I substituted large boneless breast tenderloins and grilled them indoors on my grill pan. Also unavailable at the store, pita bread so I subbed mini naan …I prefer naan to pita unless the pita is homemade anyway. I had a leftover cucumber, tomato/sesame seed Thai salad in the fridge so I just added red onion to it. The salad’s sweetness from the rice vinegar was surprisingly complementary. Tzatziki was yummy.
    So I’m not usually a commenter, I just take the recipes and run with them…they’re all good. I’m a fiend for the avocado toast and Raita salad, thanks.

  71. Yona

    DEB! DEB!
    I was wondering why a gyroscope sounded like something in the poultry department but-what-do-wheels-have-to-do-with-chickens-maybe-roosters-ride-motorcycles-but you have explained it! joy!

  72. Karen P.

    Perfect timing; needing to buy new grill this week,
    former one completely refuses (speaking of rebelling!)
    to work any longer. My suggestion: your darling girl &
    cute boy could support your family modeling if the cooking blog/
    cookbook gig fails to be a hit. Hahaha!

  73. Anne B.

    Your kiddos are adorable! Your daughter’s red curls are the best. You must get stopped on the street a lot when strolling with her! I have this grill and it’s great. I’m a little phobic about big gas grills. I have to admit I love hot dogs on the grill! Nothing better in the summer! This looks yum, thanks!

  74. Sara

    We smoked brisket on the BBQ this past weekend. The first time we tried to smoke brisket on the BBQ it came out really dry and overcooked. This time, we took the internal temperature many times throughout and when it got to ~190 degrees F, we took it off and it was perfect.

  75. Bridgit

    This is what I’m making for our next dinner w our friends where one is a vegitarian and two can’t have gluten. We will likely add chickpeas and lightly pickled beets, and maybe some feta too, because what not! So many good things to grill: pizza and pita for sure. Grilled green onions has been my fixation since last summer. We had some at a fancy restaurant, twisted into a little nest and served on a bed of romesco sauce. The whole combo was amazing, but the green onions are repeated weekly in the summer, just olive oil, salt and pepper. Happy grilling.

  76. Amie

    We made this tonight and it was delicious. I marinated the chicken overnight and it was so tender. We cooked it on the grill pan on the stove and served with lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes (diced), in a wrap which was also warmed in the pan (no tzatziki for kosher reasons). Seriously good! Loved the marinade.

  77. mountain lily

    We do this same idea with make-your-own fish tacos. We set up a buffet bar with the grilled fish and all the fixings, including tzatziki sauce and let people make their own. It makes for great interaction and fun.

  78. Amy

    Oh Deb. You really do have a knack for giving just the right recipes at the right time. I so appreciate all you do. Adding this to the meal plan for me and hubby and 15 month old who eats as much as we do, but already thinking it might be just the perfect meal for when my family of 15 gets together this summer and each couple is tasked with dinner for a night!

    Your comment about bread…. isn’t it annoying?! Haha I brought your AMAZING roasted tomato pasta salad to a cookout last weekend and half the people didn’t even touch it! Carbs aren’t going to kill you people! I get it, I get it. More for me. I also brought your strawberry rhubarb crumble and WOW. Will be making that all summer long! Thanks again.

  79. Amy

    Sorry to be annoying and triple comment… can you recommend a (somewhat hearty) side that you might serve with this? As per my previous comment, I want to make this for my large family but feel like I would need something else to round it out.

    1. deb

      Amy — Thank you. You might just add additional things to the platter instead? Grilled eggplant, grilled haloumi, grilled zucchini. Or, if you really want a side dish, those three things together with some vinaigrette. :)

  80. Country Kate

    Thanks for the inspiration! I made an approximation of this last night (based on inclination and available ingredients) and it was easy and tasty. Happy grilling to you, Deb:-)

  81. MrsBoneJovi

    PREACH! We have a 3 year-old and an 11 month old. So much easier to throw a dinner party than try and go out to dinner with our friends! I’ll be using this menu for next time. Question- how do you store your Global knife? I just bought one this weekend and can’t seem to find any recommended covers/sheaths?

  82. Erika

    I am so happy you have a grill because I’m obsessed! My parents bought us a little Weber when we bought our house a few years ago, and it’s been our most-used housewarming gift by a mile. A few of our favorites…

    Grilled halloumi. I think I could house an entire block of it on my own. And it would be be killer in these gyros!

    Also, years ago, Fine Cooking had a grilled romaine and radicchio salad with balsamic and Parmesan shavings. It is one of my favorite salads.

    Grilled chicken with Thai flavors and peanut coconut sauce for dipping.

    This year I was hosting thanksgiving for the first time and our oven broke 4 days before. We spatchcocked and grilled the turkey and it was so delicious…we will never use the oven again!

  83. Lturtle

    Looks delish! My favorite things to grill: portobello mushrooms stuffed with chèvre & drizzled with balsamic vinegar, small zucchini sliced into fans & brushed with olive oil, peaches wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus, prawns, salmon.

  84. MR in NJ

    I’m a grill snob and use only briquettes because to me, a gas grill is just an oven outside, with grill lines on the food.

    Lots of good books on this. I like Steven Raichlen’s “How to Grill.” I took it out of the library last summer and returned it with regret, then found it for a dollar last winter at a library used-book sale. Sold.

    Faves after 45 years of doing this: high-quality fresh tomatoes (cherry or grape tomatoes whole, large ones halved) grilled with a drizzle of olive oil are possibly the best-tasting food on earth short of chocolate. (Do not attempt with thin-skinned heirloom tomatoes.) This is for later in the summer, as is fresh local (NJ) corn on the cob–fabulous. Peaches in season, halved and grilled, with vanilla ice cream on top, make the summeriest dessert imaginable, especially with fresh raspberries (ungrilled) tossed on top. Any vegetable; zucchini sliced the long way and drizzled with a little oil and sprinkled with herbes de Provence or other herbs is a staple. Large mushrooms. Lamb-leg-chunk shish kebab, marinated first. Garlic bread (watch closely). S’mores for your kids!

    1. deb

      MR in NJ — You get to be a grill snob because you live in NJ. :) I am basically one too, but as it’s already illegal for me to have one, I had to compromise one that would be fully shut off quickly vs. needing to monitor it until the bricquettes are out/cool. I agree that it’s closer to roasting outdoors than grilling (another reason I waited years to bother buying one) but oh my goodness, I was/am shocked by how happy it’s made us, maybe because it’s better than nothing. We have a grill! We can grill! We’re going to grill everything! etc. Thanks for the suggestions.

  85. Emiles

    What to grill? All the things. ALL. Of. THEM! Pizzas are our current favorite (with your shaved asparagus leading the way as we wrap up the season, add a few slices of prosciutto). We love grilling salmon on cedar planks, and grilled a steelhead trout filet last night straight on the grill. Grilled asparagus is the stuff of my late May dreams. Kebabs – chicken, peppers, MUSHROOMS, onions, pineapple w/ a teriyaki-esq glaze, sub steak if you’re feelin’ fancy. Potato packs are good – thin sliced potatoes, butter, parm, seasoning, wrap in foil, throw ’em on. Do yourself a favor and make a good ol’ fashioned burger before you lose the opportunity!

  86. Robin

    Butterflied leg of lamb! Grill eggpant then throw it in a garlicky marinade right from the grill. For a starter, a big thick slice (1/2 in) of mortadella, then cut into bites with mustard to dip. Grown up fried baloney.

  87. Karen

    Thanks for the link on the grill — I was leaning towards a Webber and you just sold me on one! Did you get the cart they suggest?

    1. deb

      SallyT — Gasp! Actually, I used 1 tablespoon in there and completely forgot to mention it but it also seems like this has had zero effect on the success rates so far (I mean, it’s fairly minor) but I will add it now. Thank you.

  88. Kate

    Thank you – a wonderful seasonal alternative to Sam Sifton’s schawarma, which is too much hot oven for the warmer months (though fantastic with your stuck-pot rice)

  89. Sarah

    Those are thighs!? They look so….white. I’m an ex-vegetarian who mainly eats chicken breasts now. As my meat option that is. This sounds so up my alley.
    Favourite grilled things: haloumi. One time I made a coconut milk thai curry marinated grilled kale that was fantastic.

  90. Alexia

    Oh my gosh this looks DELISH!!!!! Can’t WAIT to try it! I made something similar in the past but I’m sure this is WAY better.

  91. Cindi

    This sounds devine! To me grilling and the scent of charcoal and smoke means summer. We have a baby Weber grill that we cautiously sneak out after hours and guiltily barbecue our meats as we are lawbreakers too. We are supposed to have the bbq 10 feet from the building, and thankfully we live on the ground floor, but my hubs still does it on our covered patio. Shhh, I won’t tell if you won’t. Liquid smoke and an indoor oven only take it so far, ya know what I mean. I live in Texas where BBQ’ing should be a right not a priviledge, right?! We love gyros. This is going to be on our menu this weekend!

  92. clare

    This grill is the best. Bought mine almost 4 years ago and it is still going strong. Because it is so easy I grill everything, even into the New England winters–my neighbors probably think I am crazy grilling salmon on my snow covered deck. The chicken recipe is perfect and I loved the ease of serving a crowd.

  93. Jeanie

    This is a perfect meal! I added chickpeas and olives to the salad, warmed the bread on the grill, and made my own version of tzatziki (very similar to yours but with mint and olive oil instead of lemon, dill and vinegar). My family and guests adored this and I will make it over and over again this summer. Thank you!

  94. Maya

    Sadly I don’t have a grill, so what would your cooking suggestion be for making the chicken in the oven/on the stovetop?

    1. Sally

      I don’t have a grill either. I just marinate as directed and brown in a skillet on the stove top. If you must have grill marks you could use a stove top grill pan. When the chicken is done cooking let it sit for about 5 minutes then slice thinly.

  95. Mary Beth

    I made this over the weekend. Absolutely fantastic–no need for the pita/bread, just a great salad. Adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar takes it over the top. I will be making this all summer long.

  96. stephanie

    this looks so good! i am officially in “looking for summer recipes” mode, suddenly everything i’ve ever cooked just seems so hot and heavy. this is great. i also love the idea of an “everyone picks what they want” type dinner – i’ve already made the sheet pan tikka three times and just plopping the pan on the table is something i love doing.

    and what do you mean “guitar recital”?? was just looking through some of your older recipes (i LOVE the new email format with the bonus links to other stories at the top btw!) so jacob not being a baby anymore is even more unbelievable, haha!

    ps, we had a grill at our old place that was totally “illegal” (i believe any sort of fire had to be X feet from the building which is impossible if you live in a city) but of all the things the landlord went nuts over, he never cared about the grill. go figure! i miss it so much. (our current place doesn’t even have a fire escape.)

  97. Callie

    Love love love chicken gyros on the grill!! My brother recently made the most amazing tzatziki I’d ever had and he told me two tricks: use some (or all) of the full-fat Mediterranean-style plain Greek yogurt, and add just a small amount of diced dill pickles… Seriously amazing!!

    As for our favourite on-the-grill meal as of late: marinated chicken kabobs with red peppers and pineapple, grilled corn salad (grill corn on the cob, add diced tomato and avocado, toss with honey-like dressing), with a side of hummus and flatbread. Enjoy grilling :)

  98. Kate

    Chicken’s marinating to make this tonight (on my itty bitty grill pan, unfortunately) but couldn’t find any soft pitas worth buying. I’m improvising and doing a true salad with crushed up pita chip “croutons” on top and a sprinkle of feta. I can’t wait to try it out!

  99. Yolanda

    I made this over the weekend when some friends came over, and served it with Greek olives and marinated feta on the side. I followed one commenter’s suggestion to add a bit of coriander and allspice to the chicken marinade. Everyone loved it.
    I made chicken salad from the leftover chicken, and a friend who dropped by said it was the best he’d ever had! Thanks for this recipe. I will be making it a lot this summer!

  100. Melinda S.

    I made this last night and it was a crowd favorite, well, it’s just me and my husband as our kids are 17, 20 and 23 and NEVER home, but we loved it enough for a crowd!

  101. Caley

    Just made the salad for dinner. Amazing! I think this might become a part of the regular rotation. Thanks for the post.

  102. MemeGRL

    I hope you are still reading comments because if you have not tried the yogurt marinated chicken from Dinner: A Love Story, you must. It is unbelievably good. We like the garam masala version but the lemon pepper one is a gigantic hit here.

  103. Delicious! I use my potato ricer to remove the excess liquid from the cucumbers, very easy and quick. Every year I use the same technique when I make your Potato Latkes recipe for my husbands birthday.

  104. Kelly

    You can solve your grill violation problems by purchasing a t-fal countertop infrared grill. Cooks everything and anything right to perfection, and quickly too! We used it twice last week to make this recipe – delicious as always!

  105. Margaret

    I have this marinade on some boneless pork chops for grilling tonight! Can’t wait!

    I’ve done the chicken in a 425 oven as well. 20ish minutes and delicious!

  106. Christine H

    Just made this using bone-in chicken drumsticks and thighs (as they were the best bargain of the organic poultry available to me at the time). I split the thigh from the drumstick, took the skin off both, and when I grilled them, I just made sure to cook through–about 30 min. total on medium high heat. Worked out just fine!

  107. Lori

    Made this for dinner last night. Made the mistake of only making 1.5 lbs of chicken because I was only cooking for 4 people. Absolutely loved this recipe. Also, I didn’t have hot smoked paprika, only regular smoked paprika. I used that and it came out great.

  108. Karen

    OK. This recipe is #sogood. It’s incredibly delicious, loaded with fresh veggies, and nearly as important, extremely quick to throw together on a weeknight when the kids are hungry. The first time I made it I cooked the chicken in a skillet and it was pretty good, but when I used a grill the second time it was significantly improved. Use a grill! Also I think the use of thigh meat is key. This one is officially on my summer short-list.

  109. Umber

    I made this on the stove in a skillet and it turned out amazing! I honestly can’t believe how delicious it is! Adding this in our rotation! Thank you!

  110. Rene’

    I made this over the weekend. It was great. The teenage boys loved it and my husband wants it on the A list. Thank you.

  111. Katie ahearn

    This was absolutely delicious. The second day we turned our leftovers into sandwiches by wrapping all the fixings in the pita with a spread of the tzatziki. Yum. Thank you!

  112. Dominique

    Delicious for our midweek European summer meal! Enjoyed on our 6th floor roof top balcony in Berlin tonight with a Berliner Kindl Bier! Took a little longer to prep (cos I’m slow) but was well worth it. I added a tablespoon of minced fresh mint leaves to our tzatziki and we had some grilled halloumi on the side. Thanks! Will definitely make again! The chicken was succulent and sehr lecker! Light and fresh 😉

  113. Just made this and it was delicious, a perfect reason to hang out on the deck (and ogle the adorable hummingbirds coming to my feeder), and a 10/10 according to my picky husband. Thanks, Deb!

    I ran out of dried oregano so I used a handful of fresh from my Cuban oregano plant. I recommend it for those who struggle with growing herbs like me because it looks like a succulent and has cute, fuzzy leaves. Doesn’t wilt if you forget to water for a few days.

  114. Judith

    This recipe calls for grated cucumber, but the carrot salad calls for grated carrots and they are clearly (from the photo) shredded carrots. Is this just incorrect terminology? Should the cucumbers also be shredded? You may use a box grater for both but shredding uses one side and grating another so it seems important to be clear on which is called for in a recipe.

    1. deb

      Whoa, I am not sure I knew there was any difference between shredding and grating so I’ve always used them interchangeably. Sorry for the confusion.

    2. sparkgrrl658

      imho, deb uses the correct terminology – in both recipes she specifies to “coarsely grate.” (not just to grate, which could be vague were it not for the photos.) coarsely grated and shredded both mean the same thing to me, i.e. the big holes on the grater. perhaps that’s a function of how or where i grew up, i’m not sure. (new englander here.) or, perhaps it’s different if you have several food processor blades you’re deciding between? i only have a mini processor with one all purpose blade, so i do all my grating by hand on a box grater or a microplane.

      as far as recipes go, in both instances it’s really a matter of personal preference anyway. since neither is a cooked dish, it just depends on how you’d want to eat it. for instance you can make tzatziki with chopped cucumbers, if you don’t care for the texture of the coarse grated/shredded. (i probably wouldn’t do a fine grate because it seems like it might just totally disintegrate, but who knows, i’ve never tried it :)) or, for another, i don’t care for grated carrots, but might be inclined to eat that salad if it was done on a mandoline or on an inspiralizer.

      fwiw i made this tzatziki using the big holes on the grater and it came out…well, great ;)

  115. Elise

    The tzatziki is amazing, I’ve already made it this week and last and plan to make it next week for the in-laws. I accidentally forgot to add the vinegar to the tzatziki the first time out and didn’t miss it, so left it out the next time.

    The chicken rub was a little bland for my taste, but I was using chicken breasts instead of thighs.

  116. sparkgrrl658

    this was one of the best dinners i’ve had in awhile, thank you deb! definitely added to the rotation, and great for summer especially.

    for the chicken, i used a tablespoon of dried oregano, and also added 3T of yogurt as well as 3t of red wine vinegar. marinated for six hours and then cut the thighs into strips and threaded them onto skewers. while i don’t have a grill, i have learned that i can broil skewers in the oven and they come out great! i do 20 minutes at 400-425, flipping halfway through and then broiling for a few minutes at the end.

    for the tzatziki since i was the only one who would be eating it, i halved the yogurt & cucumber but kept all the flavoring amounts the same plus an extra tablespoon of dill and a spoonful of sour cream. i will definitely make this again and again!

    we had it with all the fixings (highly rec squirting any leftover lemon juice you have onto the red onions while you chop everything else up) and the “ethereally smooth hummus” recipe. anyway, everything was not only delicious but it was also IG worthy ;)

      1. sparkgrrl658

        so, just now seeing how to use the wordpress notifications panel to track replies…please disregard my elsewhere comments about email notifications, i clearly am an idiot sometimes, lol! anyway, the WP notifications tab is amazing, and now i am catching up on replies. thank you so much for your compliment, this was definitely one of the prettiest dinners i’ve cooked, though i must say SK recipes are easily the most photogenic! thank you again and happy tuesday, deb.

    1. Nicole

      I am a regular reader and occasional commenter here and on thekitchn. struck by how it seems there it is a small community when I recognize someone’s handle jerk nugget :)

      1. sparkgrrl658

        okay, i am a total dillweed because only today did i realize i could check reply notifications in this panel here now that deb uses wordpress. so a.) cool! and b.) omg hi! and c.) yeah, isn’t it funny, the internet is global and yet such a small world sometimes :)

  117. Jennifer

    Fantastic. I made it all as directed. Marinated the chicken thighs for about 6 hours before grilling. Five minutes on one side and 4 on the other, just to make sure. My guests raved! Thanks Deb for making me look good!

  118. Melanie

    This recipe is wonderfully flavorful! Made it with chicken breasts since boneless skinless thighs aren’t a standard item at grocery stories in Liguria and swapped piadelle for pita for the same reason. Used regular yogurt drained for a few hours and marinated the red onion in lemon juice and salt. My husband, who really eats only for fuel, asked that we have this at least once a week for the rest of the summer! Had a little tzatziki left over and served it to happy aperitivo guests the next day with breadsticks and celery sticks. Really a winner.

  119. Elise

    Hi Deb,

    Would you mind sharing what kind of grill you use? I’m looking into options, and would love your input! Love this recipe too! :)

    1. deb

      We bought one of these. It’s never going to do what my one-day big green egg will, but for 2 to 4 people and weeknight ease, it’s unbeatable. Also, the grill plates are small — you can actually soak them in the sink and run them through the dishwasher so they don’t have to get too gross.

  120. Made this for dinner last night with my husband’s business partner in tow and it was a gigantic hit. The chicken was so flavorful (6hr marinating time) and all of the components put together were like they were MFEO. I halved the recipes and there were virtually no leftovers except for the tzatziki – which is never a bad thing to have leftover. Thanks for another great one, Deb!

  121. Lenae C

    This was such a great summer meal. We loved the flavor of the chicken so much that it has become our go-to marinate, even when not preparing Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Thanks for the inspiration!

  122. Nicole

    I made this for a crowd of ten with great success. Homemade tzatziki was definitely worth the effort versus store bought, as was seeking out fresh pita from a Middle Eastern specialty store versus the dried out pita from the grocery store.

    Successful edits and substitutions: 1 tsp of dried dill instead of 1 Tbsp fresh (just make in advance); adding a Tbsp or 2 of yogurt to the marinade for the chicken per another person’s suggestion; 3 Tbsp lemon juice versus the combo of juice and vinegar.

  123. Stef

    Where can I find Kontos pita bread in Los Angeles? Their website & Amazon only sells them by (12) 5-count packages for $100…that’s a LOT of pita! Any other brands you would suggest? I really like the pita at Daphne’s Greek Restaurant.

    1. deb

      I’m not an LA expert but I kind of feel like they’re in a lot of stores often when you’re not looking, sometimes near flatbreads instead of pitas. Never Whole Foods (much to my chagrin) but regular grocery stores. I mean, the bodega near me carries them, randomly enough (although they’re pretty well-stocked). Hope that helps.

  124. Linda

    On days when I don’t have any time to cook, I spread some pesto on skewers of shrimp and grill them. The pesto makes lovely, burnt crust that my kids love. I serve it with a grilled corn/cherry tomato/red onion/basil salad.

  125. Elaine

    This recipe was delicious! However, I found the tzatziki to be extremely salty. I used David’s kosher salt. Is 1.5 tsp correct?

    1. deb

      Ina’s original had called for 2 teaspoons, definitely too much, so I drop it down to 1 1/2. It is on the salty side (we love it, but it might not be what everyone wants from one) and you could definitely start at 1 teaspoon next time to be safe. David’s is (I think) akin to Morton’s in weight; I use Diamond which is lighter but usually adjust recipes down from there because I don’t assume most people use it.

  126. K

    These were absolutely delicious! I used Naan bread since it looked fresher than the pita bread in our grocery store. Super fresh, healthy and filling. In the rotation now! We halted the recipe, but wish I hadn’t since leftovers would have been great.

  127. Karen S

    A new favorite. The chicken rub-marinade is the best. We gleaned a gigantic cuke from a farm field after harvest–now destined for another go at this scrumptious recipe. Thanks!

  128. Jenny

    Hello! Any insight as to how the marinade would work for steak and vegetables? We’re doing a Mediterranean spread for my daughter’s first birthday party (whew, what a year!) and would like to do chicken, steak, and veggie kebabs. I think it’ll work great but my husband is suspicious for some reason that the flavors will work well with steak…can anyone help settle our disagreement? Thank you!

    1. deb

      Definitely! I should disclose that I’m a bit of a plain jane with steak — I usually just grill it with salt and pepper; it’s chicken I think needs all this help with more flavors. But no way would it taste bad, or that I wouldn’t eat it all. ;)

  129. Dee

    Summer down here in Australia and this was a perfect casual dinner for entertaining old friends.
    I cooked extra, plain chicken for my extremely fussy teenage son but he scorned that and happily tucked in to the marinated slices with everyone else – so even more of a win! there was not a skerrick of chicken or pita bread left and most of the tzatziki disappeared too.

    For dessert I did your grilled peach splits.. sensational.

    Another delicious thing I love to BBQ (grill): lamb cutlets, covered with a small slice of feta and a small sprig of rosemary, then wrapped in prosciutto. The lamb stays lovely and moist and pink and the feta and prosciutto gives a lovely salty tang. Yum.

    1. I have made this by cooking the chicken under the broiler in my oven.

      What I’d like to know is if the flavors would be ruined if I cooked the chicken in the marinade in a slow cooker. Obviously I’d end up with something more like pulled or shredded chicken, texture-wise, but that would still do for stuffing pita, no?

      (I have a 5 week old baby and decided to invite people over for dinner tomorrow and now I am trying to think of ways to make it easier on myself.)

  130. Tara

    This salad is the best summer weeknight meal! I feel like chicken sometimes gets boring on the grill but these flavors are so good and fresh. Try the grilled Texas chicken with cilantro lime butter from abountifulkitchen blog. Cocoa and chili powder in the rub– but really it’s all about the butter! Yum!!

  131. Jane

    Made this last night and enjoying leftovers now. Added some fresh mint from my garden to the tzatzki for a little extra zing. I’m excited to use this for a party and thinking about including some nice feta and some seasoned chickpeas on the platter as well. Maybe get crazy and add some charred eggplant or Deb’s smoky eggplant dip on the side, too. :)

  132. Marlene

    Made this today with 2 chicken breasts instead of thighs. Easy, healthy and delicious – will make this again and again.

  133. Sara

    SO. GOOD.
    I made this last night for dinner, we had leftovers tonight, and I’m so looking forward to the last of it for lunch tomorrow!
    Since we’re a 2-person household I assembled individual salads instead of putting it all out on a platter (this also ensures that there will actually be leftovers for future meals ;) ) — I tossed the lettuce with a little bit of EVOO & red wine vinegar before adding the veggies (+ red pepper strips + slices radishes, just because), then topping with the chicken and dolloping the tzatziki over top. The chicken was crazy flavorful even though I only marinated for about 30-45 minutes. I used a grill-pan since we are sadly grill-less and it worked wonderfully. I skipped the pita just because we had a bit of a carb-heavy weekend.
    This was huge hit with the hubs and will definitely be on repeat this summer! Thanks Deb!

  134. Good Morning!
    I love this recipe. Thank you for sharing! One question – do you ever have a problem with your chicken thighs sticking to the grill? That happened to me last night. As I usually do when things go wrong, I am researching this to death!! There are so many different opinions on grilling b/l s/l chicken thighs (high heat vs med – high vs low and slow, oil the grates, oil the meat, don’t use marinade, use a marinade that has oil in it, etc). What is your approach? I’m going to try again tonight – seriously… I’m that stubborn!!

    Thank you!

      1. deb

        I tend to use high heat for everything, but also have a dinky grill. Still, a charred edge tastes good and chicken doesn’t take long to bake — it’s usually a good temperature. For sticking, I usually spray the grates with Pam (um, be careful, I don’t think this is actually the brightest idea) or brush them with oil. If the chicken is still sticking, it often benefits from a little more time to get a good edge/crust to it, same as in a frying pan. Hope that helps.

  135. Emily

    I made this the other night, but I subbed red pepper in place of tomatoes, and we cut up pitas into little pieces and used them kind of like croutons. It was delicious!

  136. Olivia

    I love this meal! Great for having friends over in the summer. I also added your tzatziki potato salad to further extend the meal and realized it is a great addition/replacement for gluten free friends

  137. Michelle Pritchett

    The recipe calls for chicken thighs, is this correct? The pics. and the instructions look more like chicken breast,

  138. I am probably your biggest copy cat, and plan to copy you again on Saturday night with the gyros. But I think for company I need to serve something else with it. Ideas for sides or desserts?

  139. I made something similar but added spiced chickpeas and used mayo in the dressing for dairy free. It was delicious. I also tried which you insist and it was perfect. It can be served to any one who loves to eat the gyro.
    Thanks for sharing this unique recipe.

  140. Liz

    I made this yesterday as a lighter alternative at a cookout my husband and I hosted. Everyone raved about the chicken – it was so delicious! I had plenty of romaine left over, but no chicken (it was devoured). I guess I’ll have to make it again (scaled down for two this time).

  141. I made this for dinner last night, and it was delicious! Since I keep kosher, I used tahini (amount scaled down) instead of yogurt in the sauce and gave hummus to my tahini-averse boyfriend. I also don’t eat garlic, and it was great without.

  142. Stacia Brower

    I marinated for about an hour, cooked the chicken in the skillet and it turned out delicious! The salad and dressing really make this great.

  143. Victoria

    This is a great summer dish. Sometimes I just buy storemade tatziki to speed along the meal, which is so quick otherwise. Love doing the chicken on the grill so it gets a smoky flavor. We often eat this as a salad.

  144. We tried this for the first time last night and my family loved it. I made one alteration: I pickled the onions (referring to your fajita recipe). It was amazing. Thank you! This will be getting made again really soon (especially since I have left over Tzatziki!).

  145. This was amazing even in the dead of winter; I can’t wait to try it in summer on the grill! The chicken marinade was delicious, and that was the best tzatziki I’ve ever made. (Must be the squeezing)

  146. Julie

    This was a brilliant way to feed a crowd. The chicken was fantastic, as was the tzatziki. This will be a regular recipe for us from now on!

  147. Lindsay

    I have now made this 3 weeks in a row… it’s that good. I am an apartment dweller with no barbecue, so I just used a skillet instead… It’s so simple and yet so delicious and filling… one of the only meals I can eat for lunch and dinner three days in a row and not get bored. Definitely make all the tzatziki – I’m just one person and I still went through it all… (shh)

  148. Debi

    Last week I accidentally set my grill on fire so I made these in the oven and they were just perfect. Even for my ten year old picky eater.

  149. Randi Weinberg

    Made this last night for just the two of us, and now we have plenty of leftovers! SOOO good, and easy. I don’t do dairy, so I made homemade mayo and used that instead of yogurt – subbed perfectly thinned out with some lemon juice. Thank you!!

  150. Josh

    Absolutely add this addictive classic to your grilling rep. The grated cucumber process imbues such crisp and summery flavors to the sauce while also adding a pronounced perceived lightness. Loved the balance achieved- perfectly created and detailed recipe.

  151. Jane

    Dinner guest had to reschedule for tomorrow, but chicken has been marinating since 10 am! Should I:
    (a) just let it marinate till he arrives tomorrow evening, and grill then, or
    (b) respect the “up to 24 hours” and grill it tonight or tomorrow morning?

    I’m inclined to (a) but don’t know what the effect will be. Sorry for the late notice question everyone, no sweat if I don’t get an answer :)

    1. deb

      Some people find it chicken marinates too long, it can be *too* soft. I don’t find that/it doesn’t bother me. Thus, I don’t think it’s a problem to marinate it longer.

  152. Shayna Stillman

    We were in Greece’s last year and the Gyros were so delicious!! I LOVE this idea for entertaining – it’s a perfect summer meal for a crowd. I’m saving this and can’t wait for summer. Thank you!!

  153. Sarah M

    I just reread your NYT article about reasons not to cook, and the line about how cooking a meal people love can change your day drove me to comment. I made this, along with homemade pita and a big dish of lemony potatoes, for a dinner last week. I doubled the recipe and barely had leftovers, even though we were only four people. My friends had seconds, and then thirds (they are triathletes, training for Ironman, so I supposed that’s fair), exclaimed over how flavourful the chicken is and how they’d never had homemade tzatziki before. They heaped scoops of vegetables on top of potatoes on top of bread and said it hinted of summer. We drank a bottle of champagne to celebrate the purchase of our new house, and then a growler of beer, and then finished off a carrot cake my mum had delivered the day before. And I was so pleased to have my house filled with people who were delighted and satisfied by a home-cooked meal. So thank you. This is a fantastic recipe that I’ll make again and again. Cooking was definitely worth it.

  154. Susan

    I made this for 8 folks as an easy dinner options. Store bought pitas were delish and I marinated the chicken – I used thin cut breasts- for about 18 hours. The chicken was so flavorful and it paired beautifully with the taziki!

  155. Nancy in CA

    Made this tonight, and will regularly in future. Huz is sodium-restricted these days, so I greatly reduced the salt, and we still loved it. I did skip the pita in favor of Armenian-style pilaf, as our fave Greek pita is sodium-heavy. Directions do result in a metric ton of tzatziki, which is in no way a bad thing here. Thanks, Deb!

  156. Amber D.

    This was such a crowd-pleaser and the chicken grilled super-fast! Make the tzatziki ahead of time to cut down on prep time. The chicken is particularly tasty.

  157. Elizabeth Lehnertz

    Loved this recipe. I shamelessly cheated and bought pre-made TZATZIKI dressing, but the chicken was delicious. I added extra lemon juice to the pre-made dressing, and it made all the difference.

  158. Allyson Schaeffer

    Okay so I’m pretty literal and need specific instruction. I love this salad and have made it twice now, but I’m still a little confused on how it’s meant to be eaten. There’s no dressing and I’ve definitely piled on the tszatiski, but it feels a bit much. Is the intention to throw on to the pita or into the pita or maybe to add some dressing? Just curious to know how you guys consume <3 Thank you!

    1. deb

      We usually heap it onto the pita wedges with the tzatziki and chicken. Or just pile it onto a plate — you can dollop the tzatziki on top or schmear it below. Or, if you want more dressing on the vegetables, you can always season them with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

  159. Olivia

    The best part about this recipe is that she enables you to call it a salad. We may have gotten the proportions wrong but this ended up being a delicious, traditional gyro plate full of flavor. We will remake again and again.

  160. Casey Pulz

    Very very good! I used 2 chicken breasts that I split in half and it turned out great. I also brushed the pitas with olive oil and put on the grill to warm and get some grill marks. Will make again! Thank you!

  161. Casey Pulz

    Very very good! I used 2 chicken breasts that I split down the middle instead of the thighs, and that worked great. I also brushed olive oil on both sides of the pita and put on the grill to warm through and get grill marks.
    Will make again! Thank you!

  162. Palmer Bassett

    Hi! Huge fan of yours, probably made over 100 of your recipes. I’m going on a river trip with 20 other people and in charge of a few lunches (hello, Costco!) I’m making this as one of the more special lunches, pita bread, the cucumber/tomato/onion salad thing, the chicken (grilling and freezing all 9lbs of meat). Wondering about the Tzatziki dressing, would you freeze it? Does yogurt + lemon + vinegar and the other ingredients freeze alright? Anyone free to answer! Gladly appreciate it.

  163. Mellie

    I’ve made this three or four times now and it is the best lazy summer, sit around, grab off a platter meal. We love just sitting around our back porch with all these goodies on a big platter along with a few alcoholic beverages. Love your site, your cookbooks and your recipes. I’ve been turning to your recipes more during these times. Lots of cooking going on here in Bloomington, Indiana!!

  164. Jesse

    Love this!! It’s in our usual rotation of meals year round. Any excuse to make tzatziki I suppose! Don’t change a thing (except I use chicken breasts bc it’s usually what we have in the freezer) *chef’s kiss*

  165. Chris

    Rachel. This is truly a fantastic recipe which we “…Repeat all summer!” Thank you for this and so many other delicious recipes!

  166. Laura Jane

    Loved this! The tzatziki was delicious and the chicken had great flavor even though I only marinated it for maybe 30-45 minutes. I used a cast iron pan to sear and finished in the oven– worked great.

  167. Alex C.

    Wow this was so good! Made it for the first time tonight. Subbed chicken breast and added some feta cheese. (This was also my first time grilling chicken breast and I’m very pleased!) Went without the pita since I had planned to make some homemade but ran out of time. Might try that tomorrow. I’ll definitely be making this again.

  168. Susan

    A version of this salad makes a regular appearance all summer long at my house. It’s delicious and not too heavy. My only comment? Squeeze the cucumbers over a sieve placed on a bowl or glass and keep the juice. It’s great for thinning the sauce as needed, and if not, for mixing up with some vodka or tequila for a refreshing summer cocktail. Rim the glass with lime and chile powder if you feel the need to be fancy.

  169. Victoria

    I don’t have a grill so I made the chicken in the InstantPot — 8 mins at high pressure with 5 minutes natural release. It probably didn’t need quite that long but it was delicious and so easy!

  170. Sammi

    LOVED this recipe. It is the first thing we’ve grilled in months and it did not disappoint! Since tomatoes are out of season in these parts, I served with a cucumber/avocado/chickpea salad doused in lemon juice ( + salt/pepper!) for some acidity. Had us dreaming of summer when the tomatoes will be ripe and this will surely be in regular rotation! (side note – did not make the tzatziki due to time. whipped together a similar yogurt-based lemon-y, onion-y, chile-flaked dip and it was delish!)

  171. Erika’s Test Kitchen

    So, I have been waiting for a crowd to feed for 2+ years to make this recipe, and finally my in-laws are coming to visit this weekend! Only problem: my MIL is somewhat lactose intolerant. She’s usually happy to eat dairy with us and take a Lactaid, but I’d love to have a non-dairy dip option in addition to the tzatziki…baba ganoush? Any other good ideas?

  172. Melissa Batko

    Where is the recommendation for feta and kalamata olives?!? We ate this tonight and it was missing these 2 ingredients! Otherwise this is an amazing recipe!

  173. Tanica Hesselgesser

    Holy moly, this was so delicious! I loved the layout because of my picky children, and a friend who came over commented about how it was the perfect light but filling meal. This is going into our at-least-weekly rotation, and we are all devastated not to have leftovers. If you have it, I recommend the food processor to grate the cucumber if you want to cut down on prep time, and used a cheesecloth to wring it out.

  174. Hayley

    This looks fab! I have made a similar Sat night dinner for my family for years ( fave post football food – you may call it soccer) and don’t grill outside either ( London)
    I use Zataar in my marinade and add in smoked paprika and garlic powder – the sesame seeds char and blacken .
    Love your recipes old and new ! X

  175. Jennifer

    The tatziki was the best I have ever made. Most I have made are just blah but this is the recipe that I will use and make much more often. Thank you!

  176. Joanna Vipond

    I love grilling your shaved asparagus pizza! Grill on one side, flip it over and add the toppings on the grilled side. It’s SOOOO good!

  177. Colleen Crosby

    This was fantastic! I made it with the following changes:

    Served as a premade salad in bowls.
    Dressed the lettuce lightly with red wine vinegar dressing
    Did a quick pickle on the red onions
    Used all smoked Spanish paprika instead of regular + hot
    Used thick flour tortillas instead of pita bread
    Halved the recipe for two people. There are 1-2 servings of chicken left. Yay!

  178. Jake

    Made (a variation on) this for dinner tonight! Used my own recipe for tzatziki and also made tabbouleh, and used spinach as the base instead of regular lettuce. Cooked the chicken under the broiler on a cooling rack over a foil-lined sheet pan, about six minutes on each side. This marinade for chicken is INCREDIBLE – got rave reviews from my partner! The concept is perfect for a light summer dinner when the idea of hot food just does not appeal. I will be making this again.

  179. Tina Iaquinto

    This was awesome! The marinade for the chicken was so flavorful, the tzatziki sauce the best I’ve ever made and such an easy dinner to assemble. We will definitely be doing this again! Thank goodness you were feeling edgy!
    Love all your recipes and love reading how they came about! Thank you!

  180. Diane

    I’ve made this twice now, and will be making it many more times. First time was a rainy day, so roasted the chicken in the oven and crisped under the broiler, and it was great. Second time I did it on the grill, but threaded the meat on sets of three skewers (Mediterranean Dish has a recipe for chicken Döner kebab; that’s where the technique came from, )…my three pounds of chicken was a lot more than 10 thighs, and it was much easier to move all that meat around when it was on two sets of skewers instead of individually. Both times, it was fantastic, you really can’t go wrong. Thinking about bringing it to a potluck next week. So, so good!